Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How many words does your child have?

I was at the park the other day frolicking in the sun with Lucien.  A fire truck drove by, and a little boy, around 14 months old, looked in its direction and said, Teh.
Mother responds, Truck!  Yes, that's a truck!  You are so smart!
How many words does your son have?
I look around, a little confused.  That kid definitely did not say, "truck."  Me?  I mean, him?  I'm confusedly pointing at my own child.
Yes!  He's adorable.  How old is he?  And again she asks, How many words does he have?

This is why I love the internet.  This baby looks really smart.

He's 20 months.  He says "Mom" and "Dada", and I think, "kitty."  He says "meh", when he sees milk, so maybe he "has" that, too.  He babbles constantly, but who really knows if he's saying actual words, right?  I mean how much of baby vocabulary  is really just us projecting legitimate words onto the grunts they make, right?  Am I right?

Um, sure.  Well, Bye!  Clearly that's not what she wanted to hear.  I need to learn to play along better.  Next time, I'll be ready with something more interesting to add to our conversation about early childhood development.  It will go something like this.

How many words does your son have?

He said, "ahh" while pointing in the direction of a wedge that holds our front door open, which I'm taking to mean "Isosceles Triangle," because it really looks like one.  He is part Greek after all.  In other things Greek,  he's also exhibiting that he doesn't have an affinity for debt management, as he still hasn't payed his ER bill from 3 months ago.  Also, while we were reading his "first words," book the other day, he looked visibly bored, and said, "enn."  I'm taking that to mean "Encyclopedia Britannica," and have ordered the complete set for his reading pleasure.  That will be waaaay more stimulating that these "First Words" bullshit board books, don't you think?  Imagine how many words he'll have after perusing those!

I'm sure it's just harmless chit-chat, but I don't really get what the "what is your baby doing" questions are all about.  Isn't that why we have the Internet and Babycenter?  They both provide endless charts and graphs that, A) assure us we have bred a fully capable being, or B) convince us all that drug use in our early twenties is actually making a baby we had 15 years later learn things slower.

Basically, what I am saying is this:  Lucien didn't crawl until he was 7 months old, walk until he was 14 months old, and now he is 20 months old and has his own, wonderful babble-language.  He is fully engaged, and incredibly happy.  I honestly don't know how many words he has.  But, like everything else, he'll have them when he's good and ready.






13 comments:

  1. Thank you! A former friend has a blog in which she boasts about her kids and all their achievements. It never bothered me until I had my own kid who is now 14 months. My kid doesn't "have" any words either. Anyway, out of curiosity, I visited her blog the other day to see how my kid compared to her kid at the same age. She said her kid was saying 50 words at 18 months! I mean, I know all kids develop differently, but who takes the time to count and keep track of all the words? It's crazy!
    I enjoy reading your blog and your perspective on parenting. Thanks again!

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  2. Sounds to me like you dodged a bullet there. If you had answered any differently I'm sure she would have treated you to an entire glossary of her kid's grunts. What an absurd question!

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  3. This woman must be on my babycenter birth club! Ahhh they drive me nuts. So glad you wrote this thou. While making many valid points, you also have made me worry less about my 19 month olds lack of 'words.' He too babbles constantly. And he's got "hi" down pat. But no "mommy" or anything else. Everything is 'ba.' glad he's not alone and I won't freak out if we're still in the same boat when he's 20 months! Thanks Maria.

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  4. Yeah, I hate those people, too. I have some friends who interpret every little anomaly as a sign that their kid is a genius. Ugh. There's always some damn competition that most moms have to contend with with other moms, right?

    And then there's the moms that worry that their kid isn't good enough (I'm in that category sometimes) but ultimately, if you know your kid is learning about the world and you are doing your part to see that he/she's engaged, who cares about progress? All that matters is that they are happy.

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  5. It's normal for people to brag about their children, but this is something different. It just feels weird.

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  6. Ah, oneupsmanship.

    One thing having triplets has taught me is that every kid is different and boy is that okay. As long as everyone is making progress.

    The other thing it's taught me is how much coffee I can drink and still technically sleep.

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    1. Triplets? You win. You're prize is a latte IV. Oh my God, how do you do it?

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  7. You don't keep a running tally of how many words your kid has? What kind of parent are you?? Every time my daughter learns a new word we change the number tally on her achievement board (which she is required to carry with her at all times). We then make her count from 1-whatever number we just wrote on her board. She has to finish before we can move on to anything else, including dinner. Yesterday's word was "sadness".

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    1. Today at the park, another Lucien handed a little girl one of his pails to play with, and her mother said, "oh look, she just signed thank you!" Holy shit.
      Btw- thanks for linking to my blog- that is awesome.

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    2. You're welcome. I really enjoy reading if and thought others would as well. Keep up the good work!

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  8. He sounds like a pretty perfect baby! All those mothers that have a zillion questions drive me batty! I think every baby is special and learns in their own way!

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  9. Maybe she was just concerned about her son's development and wanted to compare?

    With that said, counting "words" is actually an important part of monitoring child development. It is something that should be asked about at well child checks. The "old standard" was 6 words by 18 months, but I've heard that many experts think that the standard for intervention should be higher than that and that more children could benefit from Early Intervention than are receiving it.

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